The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has opened up on why the immediate-past Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, visited him, stressing that the Minister-designate is fully ready to cooperate with the ruling party.

This was even as the former governor of Kano State expressed a strong conviction that Wike’s presence will further boost the chances of the APC in 2027.

Ganduje made the revelation during a solidarity visit by the former Governor of Plateau State and Director General of the dissolved APC Presidential Campaign Council, Simon Bako Lalong, to the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.

The 73-year-old politician, however, denied discussing anything concerning the purported defection of the former Rivers State governor to the ruling APC.

He said, “You know Wike is a honourable Minister designate so he came, we discussed, because I was looking for him to congratulate him for that. He also came to congratulate me.

“We discussed that when he becomes minister fully, he will work very hard in order to move the ministry he is given forward and he is ready to cooperate. But we didn’t discuss the issue of his coming to APC or not coming to APC. That issue will arise later.”

Continuing, the national chairman disclosed that while having the presence of Wike in the party will improve their chances ahead of the next poll, they have started working on a blueprint that will boost the followership in such a manner that will see many other political parties merging with the APC.

According to him, the inclusion of Wike and some other notable members from the opposition signifies the ‘spirit of national unity’ that President Bola Tinubu has been preaching.

“Having Wike will certainly improve the chances of this our party, especially in 2027, and not only that we are coming out with a new blueprint to increase the followership of the party and this will include all strata of officials; those who are in APC and those who are in other political parties. I assure you very soon some of the political parties will even merge with the APC. We are doing that underground.

“But the spirit of national unity does not mean the spirit of one party in Nigeria. Spirit of national unity means spirit of national competence and spirit of national capacity,” he stated.

Lalong, who also addressed newsmen, disclosed that he only came around to congratulate Ganduje on his elevation as the new APC national chairman.

The former Plateau governor stated that aside from sharing ideas on how to move the party forward, every member of the ruling party knows that the new national chairman is the most experienced politician in their midst.

“At the time we finished the national caucus and the NEC meeting, I was not around. Now that I am around, I need to formally come and congratulate him (Ganduje) and see what efforts we can do to keep him moving in running the party.

“As the national chairman, Ganduje was governor. As a matter of fact, when we look at his antecedents, we always say he is the longest-experienced politician that we have within us. Because he is somebody who was very long in civil service, he became permanent secretary, commissioner, longest serving deputy governor, and became governor.